Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Manchester United make comeback in Southampton draw

AP

Manchester City midfielder Raheem Sterling, right, scores against Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, center, in their English Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

A game seemingly needs a sleepy start to jolt Manchester United’s players into action as their latest stirring comeback came at Southampton on Saturday.

Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes against a side without a win in three months, United recovered to draw 2-2, leaving Jose Mourinho’s side 16 points off the lead in the English Premier League.

That lead was extended by Manchester City, who beat Bournemouth 3-1 to go five points clear of second-place Liverpool.

Mourinho joked recently that United’s slow starts are causing his hair to turn white. There was the 3-2 win over Newcastle in early October from 2-0 down after 10 minutes, which might have saved Mourinho’s job, and the 2-1 win at Bournemouth early last month after going behind after 11 minutes.

On Saturday, perhaps it was no surprise that United struggled early on with Mourinho reacting to a crisis at center back by fielding a back three that featured center midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.

“I’m always confident, but always doubtful at the same time because we don’t start well many times,” Mourinho said, adding that United lacked “mad dogs” in the midfield to press opponents.

“That’s the people who are aggressive on the ball,” he said.

Stuart Armstrong drove home an angled finish for Southampton’s opening goal in the 13th, and Cedric Soares curled a free-kick into the top corner for 2-0, sparking what is fast becoming a trademark recovery from United.

Romelu Lukaku ran onto a pass from Marcus Rashford to shoot high into the net in the 33rd minute, his first goal for United since Sept. 15.

Rashford led to the second goal, the striker crossing for Ander Herrera to flick in deftly at the post.

Trying for a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League, which might be a minimum requirement for Mourinho to stay in his job, United are six points behind fourth-place Chelsea.

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